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How to Survive Thanksgiving Dinner

So, you’re invited to a Thanksgiving dinner. Would you like to be invited back? Here’s some helpful hints — some do’s and don’ts. I got them from a longtime friend Paul Dreher, head of catering at the Beverly Hilton where he has held forth for 31 years. And while he has supervised and observed tables for the hotel’s guests, the creme de la creme of film and international society, he has another love: Dreher loves to lead the less-fortunate and less-informed youth into a life of grace.

He hosts groups like College Bound, Job Corps, YWCA, as well as sharing his expertise in private homes. Dreher’s subject: Teaching upcoming generations “Table Manners and Table Etiquette.” And he’s made it available to all on a DVD subtitled  “Bringing Proper Back” and “Bringing Back Grace.”

Paul advises:”don’t bring your pet, stay away from talking politics (the strike?), religion or any operation you’ve had. No one wants to hear about your gall bladder when he is gobbling down turkey. And don’t gobble down your turkey — there’s leftovers.” Paul also advise how to get rid of garlic or onion breath and what to do “when human nature strikes.”  Also: “don’t show up at the table wearing sunglasses, and don’t comb your hair, or use a toothpick — or blow your nose.” Also: “when to RSVP for the invite, what to send to your host — and when to do so. And don’t eat and run!”

Paul is no stranger to the business — he started out as a member of the Colonial Players of Annapolis before coming to L.A. and the Beverly Hilton. He’s donating a percentage of the DVD (“Table Manners and Table Etiquette”) sales to The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation to help provide journalism scholarships to college students. And the ninth annual Jim Murray Invitational Golf Classic which will be held at Silver Rocks Resort in La Quinta, Dec.2 with the “Great Ones Award” going to Luc Robitaille, Dec.2.

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